Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking Back at 2008 & New Year's Resolutions!

Looking Back at 2008

The Kids and Family Life
Well my two oldest children are in a local community college. One is taking Auto Mechanics and one is taking Motorcycle Mechanics. That was a huge feat getting the funding for college. Luckily it was covered and they are enjoying it. My youngest son is a freshman in high school with all A's. I am happy with this. He wants to get a four year degree, while talking with his career counselor at school he should not have any problems getting scholarships and endowments from several great colleges. I cannot believe that my little men are growing up so fast. My oldest son Michael is 19 now, David is 18 and Anthony is 14. Mike works at a local Dollar General as well as going to college and David does some construction work on the weekends. His college schedule is more detailed than Mikes. During the summer break David and Anthony will be picking up more construction jobs. David actually likes the field and might change his mind about the motorcycle mechanics thing. I told him he only has one more semester to go. They are all doing great and I am very proud of them!

My Fiance and I have been together for over a year. We moved to this new place together in February and things are great for us. We think along the same path and we want the same things. I could not have done half the things around here without him. We rely on each other and support each other. I think things will only get better for us.

Farm Life and Homesteading
Looking back now the year did not go so badly. We got moved to a good place, a nice house with ten acres of land. We have settled in well and now we have a pair of Pekin Ducks (Daisy & Donald) as well as 14 chicks. Looking forward to seeing how they grow. The garden last year sucked! We have a huge black walnut tree right beside of the garden area. For anyone who does not know, black walnuts are not good for tomatoes, potatoes, apples, blackberries and a few flowers. Lesson learned on this note! It is not all the black walnut trees fault though... needless to say the ground was not very fertile and we somewhat gave up on it! So for my canning and freezing of veggies I had to rely on buying items from the farmers market as well as various grocery store sales. I canned some tomatoes, blueberries and peaches. I froze some butterbeans and peas. The tomatoes, peas and butterbeans are all gone now. We did have several wild blackberry bushes that produced lots of berries. I did can and freeze any of those that did not get ate fresh. Definately not enough put away in general. I wanted to cook more from scratch this year and I have done that. I have never bought spaghetti sauce from a jar, I have always made it on my own, I expanded this to include my own pizza sauce and of course lasagna sauce. We love Mexican food here at the house and I have conqured my own taco seasoning mix as well as refried beans. The refried bean recipe is here on the blog and I can put the taco mix on the blog as well if anyone is interested. My baking habits have improved, cakes, brownies, cookies and such are all from scratch, no mixes. I bake more bread now but I have had problems with my biscuits. They are no longer as good as they use to be. This is a crime! My nickname among my closest friends is "Biscuit" because of my biscuit making abilities. I am not sure what exactly is going on with me currently. The last batch of biscuits that I made that were any good were cinnamon raisin biscuits that I made a batch of and froze.

House Keeping & Laundry
We moved to the place of my dreams this year. I love it! I love the land and I love my huge kitchen! Most of the time I enjoy cooking so I like a big kitchen that flows in the right direction! This house has it! I have lots of problems keeping up with the dust and the mounds of laundry that I do. I want to have a better idea of organizing and getting things done. In the past I would always have one weekend a month for KPing the house with special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms. The kids always hated this. The entire kitchen would be cleaned from top to bottom. Fridge, freezers, stove, behind all of these items and of cours the laundry room as well. The bathrooms would be cleaned spotless and cloroxed thoroughly. After the huge garden tub was cleaned well I would take all of the blinds in the house and soak them in the tub full of clorox water. All of the drapes would be washed and hung back up. So this tradition has fallen along the wayside these days. Need to fix this problem!

Working at home and ways to make money!

Ok I lucked out and found jobs at home. So far I have found two. One was customer service for a VOIP company. This was a temp job and did not last long but it was a good job. The second is customer service online. I am very fortunate to have this job. I can work from home, set my own schedule and make as much money as I want to (well within reason). It is not the income that I had when out in the real world but the expenses are way down, no lunch "meetings", no traveling, no business clothes. Even though some of these things I got credit for on my taxes the costs were always a pain. I have found 3 good ways to make extra money as well. Sendearnings, Inboxdollars, OpinionsOutpost and of course MyLot. I have a button on here for Sendearnings and Inboxdollars, feel free to sign up under me. I have links for opinionoutposts and MyLot if you are interested. Just let me know. These are not going to make you enough money to quit your job but they will pay for a new book or a magazine subscription or even a night at the movies.

Resolutions for 2009

The Kids and Family Life

Michael & David are doing well. I want to continue this. David is not as interested in Motorcycle Mechanics as he was, so its possible he might change his major. He is really good at working construction, metal framing and sheet rock work. I want him to take courses along those lines, we are looking at them. Mike has all A's in his classes at the moment. They go back in January for the Spring Semester. Anthony is doing great. His new 4 block starts in January. Currently he has straight A's in his current classes. Both David and Mike are still working and Anthony should get a summer job when school gets out. David has a great girlfriend and they are very close. I am thinking that their relationship might lead to much more in the future. All in all the kids are doing well.
My Fiance and I are also doing well. We are starting a new business. He has lots of experience in construction, metal framing and sheet rock hanging. He works his normal job and then takes on side jobs as well. We are hoping that the side jobs will lead to a business. Things are going well in that department. We are working toward doing more here at the homestead and learning new skills. We look forward to 2009.

Farm Life and Homesteading

Our current livestock include two Pekin Ducks and 14 chicks. That has been a great accomplishment for us in 2008. Our ducks are fat and happy and the chicks are growing like weeds. They are getting all of thier feathers in now. I am dropping off film at CVS to be developed today. I will post all of the pics here soon!
I am going to list the things we want to accomplish in 2009.
1.) Raise rabbits for meat production. I hope we can get rabbits by the end of January 2009. I have contacted a local person on a homesteading forum I belong to. I think it will work out well. Now to get those cages built!
2.) Garden, Garden & More Garden- we have created the smaller Lasagna garden for the items that cannot be placed near the black walnut tree. It is turning out really well. It is placed behind the chicken coop and on the side of the duck pen. That makes hauling the coop wastes and the duck poop soup much easier for me! Seed selection, special attention to the garden and companion planting is going to give us lots of veggies in 2009 I hope!
3.) New ways to store, can, freeze, dehydrate our crops. I want to learn to make onion salt, garlic salt as well as begin canning more products such as my spaghetti sauce, lasagna sauce, pizza sauce and the beans for my refried beans. We would love to build a root cellar here on the property to store our root veggies, potatoes, carrots and onions. This might not be possible since it is rented however, there are other smaller options that we will check into as well.
4.) Honey Bee Hive- this is one of my pet projects. I would really like to learn about bees and purchase the equipment for the bees as well as the bees. I love honey and I do like to even cook with it, however honey is very expensive. If I had access to my own honey that would make things much better.
5.) Feeder Pigs- We would love to get a couple of feeder pigs in the spring. Nothing better than fresh pork. I remember growing up with my aunt, uncle and my mama killing hogs. I was very young but it was very exciting. I hope we can do that ourselves.
6.) Nigerian Dwarf Goats- This is also a project that I want to tackle. I would love to have goats, they have such personality and I have done quite a bit of research on them. I want milk from these goats. Nigerian Dwarf Goats produce quite a bit of milk for their smaller packages. The milk would be used to make soaps, butters, sour cream and such. In the past my mama and I went on a venture with goats, it was a hard learned lesson. We purchased a Nubian Lamacha mix, 3 does. They were too large for us to handle and grown when we purchased them. None of them had any sort of bottle feeding or special attention. They were quite human shy as well as the oldest one being very honary! We kept them for about 6 months before we decided that we would not be able to do with them what we wanted. We sold them someone that had more land and more time to devote to them. I do not want to make that same mistake again. However, having learned such lessons the hard way, I now know that research is called for, and also hands on experience is best if you can find someone that will let you come and learn and work at their place for free just for the knowledge. I am working on that aspect. Wish me luck on it!
Whew that list was long, I hope we can accomplish it all!

House Keeping & Laundry

I have to get more organized. All of our homesteading projects take priority on the weekends when my Fiance is at home. He is the builder between the two of us and I am just the lacky. Anything that needs building or fixing in that manner he does it. So, on the weekends while I am being the lacky it seems that the chores pile up and on Monday I am swamped with work. I also want to get back into the habit of KPing the house again. This has fallen through the cracks in the past years. I need to have a schedule to keep things running smoothly. My house will never be picture perfect. Sometimes circumstances such as injured ducks or newly delivered chicks take up residence in the house. I don't think Martha would be impressed! I can only try to make things better.

Working from Home and Making Money Online

In 2008 I was fortunate to find 2 work at home jobs. One of these jobs I still have. I want to improve my hours and set goals for myself on a daily basis. This will mean rearranging my schedule to work at different peak business hours and sticking to my daily goal. Of course I will still work on my other methods of generating income. No more PTC websites though. Those are tedious and not worthwhile for me, not to mention they love to send you viruses and spyware! All in all, it comes down to me being more organized all the way around.

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